Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum dates from 1920, when Dr. E. S. Hopkins of Agriculture Canada started a museum at the present Central Experimental Farm site in Ottawa by taking the initiative to collect and accept donations of antique farm equipment. The agricultural collection was transferred to the care of the National Museums of Canada (NMC), some items were sent to the History Division of the National Museum of Man, and the remainder went to the then National Museum of Science and Technology (NMST), today the Canada Science and Technology Museum. This collection became the nucleus of the museum's National Agricultural Collection.
In 1968, the stable of the Dairy Barn at the Central Experimental Farm was renovated for public showing of Agriculture Canada's Dairy Showcase Herd. Exploratory discussions took place in 1978 concerning the feasibility of installing a museum-type agricultural exhibition prepared by NMST in one of the several heritage buildings at the Central Experimental Farm. After examining and evaluating a number of possible sites for their suitability as a public exhibition gallery, the upper level of the Dairy Barn was selected in the fall of 1980. Discussions began in December 1980 and continued to early 1983, when a formal agreement between Agriculture Canada and the NMC was signed requiring that Agriculture Canada make available and renovate for exhibition purposes and public use the upper level of the Dairy Barn to the requirements set out by NMC and NMST. For their parts, NMC and NMST agreed to establish and operate a museum in the Barn.
Renovations were carried out by Public Works Canada until August 1983, and two exhibitions were then installed by the staff of NMST. "Haying in Canada" showed haying equipment from the 1840s to the 1960s and "A Barn of the Twenties" immersed the visitor in the atmosphere of a barn of the 1920s.
The Agriculture Museum was opened officially on 12 October 1983 in the presence of the Hon. Eugene Whelan, Minister of Agriculture Canada and the Hon. Francis Fox, Minister of Communications Canada. Since the official opening, the Agriculture Museum has expanded to include seven buildings for public and administrative purposes. In addition to the 50-head dairy herd, the museum displays horses, beef cattle, pigs, goats, poultry and sheep, all of commercial or historic importance to Canadian agriculture. The museum also offers interpretive public programming, school programs, special event weekends and acts as a research resource on Canadian agricultural history.
In May 2000 the name of the museum was changed to the Canada Agriculture Museum. In May 2013 it went through a second name change and is now called the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. It seeks to fulfil its role as a national museum by connecting Canadians and the world to the historical and current importance in everyday life of agricultural science and technology. It accomplishes this mandate through the creation of engaging interpretive activities and products centred on an accessible demonstration farm.